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And The Oscar For Paw-Some Doggie Goes To:

3 min read

We've all seen him at the press conferences. Bright-eyed, friendly demeanor, surrounded by journalists and fans alike.  Even Ryan Gosling at the Oscar's Luncheon was charmed. He's simply irresistible. Oh, and that glorious tail wagging. Yes, we're talking about Messi aka ‘Snoop' from Anatomy of A Fall. Many have argued that he deserves an Oscar. Alas, there is no category for Best Dog. But if  such a thing existed, who should have won? FILMHOUNDS takes a look.

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

In Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, the audience is treated to TWO . There's ‘Shadow', a beautiful Golden Retriever, and ‘Chance', an American Pitbull. It is ‘Shadow' who steals the show. So certain of his owner's love for him, that when the animals are left alone on a ranch, he takes the lead in guiding the other family pets home. Traversing the Sierra Nevada mountains, they encounter bears, porcupines, and mountain lions. After several challenging days, they make it back to their owners, where they are happily reunited. Heartwarmingly moving, the film has become a milestone for Millennials.

The dog who played ‘Shadow', was in actuality named ‘Ben'. Ben won the role over 500 other doggies who auditioned. As Ben was already trained as a therapy dog, there was little additional training he needed for the role. Just try to make it through the clip below without crying. That is an Oscar-winning performance.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

‘Toto' aka Terry, the most famous Cairn Terrier in the world. Who hasn't made it through elementary school without ‘Toto' popping up somewhere? That is how iconic Toto is.  Going on a long, strange trip with her owner, meeting odd people, oftentimes being carted around in a picnic basket, that dog adapted well to anything thrown her way. So popular was that role, that Terry ended up changing her name to Toto for the remainder of her life.

The were just eleven years old when The Wizard of Oz was released. Truly, the academy lost an opportunity there to not start a new category with this performance. This wouldn't be her only role, she would appear in another 22 films. It's quite a lot for a little dog.

Air Bud (1997)

Air Bud, a movie about a dog who plays basketball, was inspired by the star himself, ‘Bud'. In 1989, owner Kevin di Cicco found the stray dog roaming the Sierra Nevada. Kevin started training Bud, and found that he was especially fond of playing basketball. Appearances on Americas Funniest Home Videos and David Letterman followed.

Kevin then created his own production company, and reached out to another production company, Keystone Entertainment. Together they produced the movie ‘Air Bud', which was an immediate hit and had a massive popculture impact. It ended up earning $27.8M on a $3M budget.

Bud was a natural in the role, and the movie spawned several sequels. In a world where actors are rewarded for challenging themselves, it clearly makes sense to hold the same standards for dogs.

Anatomy of A Fall (2023)

Here is a film where the French decided to do the right thing and give a very good dog a very good award. Clearly the Oscars need to catch up. Messi, a Border Collie, performs incredibly well in this French thriller. He plays ‘Snoop', the guide dog to Daniel, the sight-impaired son. The director, Justine Triet, ensured Messi was very much a main character of the film. Several scenes took place from his perspective. At one point in the film, there is a key dramatic scene where Messi had to pretend to be sick. It apparently took hours to shoot but was highly convincing. Overall, the filming schedule was intense. Messi was on set for a reported 22 days. This dog deserves an Oscar for putting in such a dramatic performance.

These dogs have brought viewers a lot of laughs and a lot of tears. A lot of time and effort has been put into portraying highly memorable roles on screen. With some truly paw-some skills, a little bit of recognition deserves to come their way. Only time will tell if the Oscars follow suit.

The Oscars begin at 11pm GMT this Sunday.